Egypt (Arabic: ???? Mi?r), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt (Arabic: ??????? ??? ???????), is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Most of its territory of 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi) lies within North Africa and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East, and the 15th most populated in the world. The great majority of its over 84 million people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara Desert, which constitute most of Egypt’s territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern state, having been continuously inhabited since the 10th millennium BC. Its monuments, such as the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx, were constructed by its ancient civilization, which was one of the most advanced of its time. Its ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest. Egypt’s rich cultural legacy, as well as the attraction of its Red Sea Riviera, has made tourism a vital part of the economy, employing about 12% of the country’s workforce.
The economy of Egypt is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services at almost equal production levels. Egypt is considered to be a middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Muslim world
Egypt lies primarily between latitudes 22° and 32°N, and longitudes 25° and 35°E. At 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,660 sq mi), it is the world’s 30th-largest country. Nevertheless, due to the aridity of Egypt’s climate, population centres are concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, meaning that about 99% of the population uses only about 5.5% of the total land area. 98% of Egyptians live on 3% of the territory.
Egypt is bordered by Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. Egypt’s important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation, it possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean by way of the Red Sea.
Apart from the Nile Valley, the majority of Egypt’s landscape is desert, with a few oases scattered about. Winds create prolific sand dunes that peak at more than 100 feet (30 m) high. Egypt includes parts of the Sahara Desert and of the Libyan Desert. These deserts that protected the Kingdom of the Pharaohs from western threats were referred to as the “red land” in ancient Egypt.
Towns and cities include Alexandria, the second largest city; Aswan; Asyut; Cairo, the modern Egyptian capital and largest city; El-Mahalla El-Kubra; Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu; Hurghada; Luxor; Kom Ombo; Port Safaga; Port Said; Sharm el Sheikh; Suez, where the Suez Canal is located; Zagazig; and Al-Minya. Oases include Bahariya, el Dakhla, Farafra, el Kharga and Siwa. Protectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa.
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